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Haters gonna hate, for sure

Haters gonna hate, for sure

Posted Nov 12, 2012 3:29 UTC (Mon) by pizza (subscriber, #46)
In reply to: Haters gonna hate, for sure by bojan
Parent article: Mena-Quintero: A Friday rant on Gnome 3, journalists, and power users

Since you seem to have trouble remembering your own words, and have trouble reading the part I directly quoted in my reply, let me paste it again here for your benefit:

>>https://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/Design#Activities_Overview
>>What can one really expect? Gnome 3 is continually trying to solve problems that nobody had, like the one described above.

The Activities Overview solved a very real problem I had; namely keeping track of what I was doing in a manner that scaled to half a dozen desktops across multiple displays.

Which is a far cry from "solving problems that nobody had, like the one described above"

In other words, I disproved your completely unfounded assertion with a single anectdote.


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Haters gonna hate, for sure

Posted Nov 12, 2012 3:54 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

I have half a dozen desktops (workspaces) in my fallback session right now and I'm managing just fine. In fact, I can actually see all of them immediately, which you cannot. I also have a half a dozen more embedded in a remote session in one of those workspaces as well. And when I switch there, I can see all of them too. None of them disappear when the last app crashes in one of them - they remain part of my desktop.

In one of my previous jobs I also had multiple monitors, which worked just fine under Gnome 2, across multiple workspaces too.

Activities overview, in the obligatory automotive parallel, is like not having a brake pedal and an accelerator pedal accessible at all times.

Instead, there is an "activities button", which when pressed, brings out both pedals, from which one then chooses what to press. Along with those two, it also brings out the indicator lever, the radio controls, the windscreen wipers and a cigarette lighter, so you need to figure out there and then which one to press, instead of being aware of them at all times. When the pedals are brought out, the windscreen is temporarily dimmed (ergo you lose sight of the road), so that you focus can be on the "activities".

So, your anecdote (which you failed to even mention before I asked you) doesn't prove much at all. Maybe only that (subjectively) you like Gnome 3 better.

It certainly doesn't prove anything related to the link I posted, which is about some supposed Gnome 3 innovation in relation to:

- focus switching (available in pretty much all Linux DEs via workspaces)
- avoiding distraction (see autohide, also see Gnome 3 panel distractions, which everyone seems to be conveniently ignoring - why not just have black background instead?)

In other words, Gnome 3 activities overview is an implementation of RFC 1925, 6a.

Haters gonna hate, for sure

Posted Nov 12, 2012 4:40 UTC (Mon) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

>So, your anecdote (which you failed to even mention before I asked you) doesn't prove much at all. Maybe only that (subjectively) you like Gnome 3 better.

Ultimately, isn't my saying "I like gnome3 better" the whole point here, just as (please correct me if I'm wrong) you're saying "I like gnome2 better"?

You've described why the Gnome3Way(tm) doesn't work for you, and that's fine and dandy; nobody's forcing you to use Gnome3. However, just because Gnome3 doesn't solve problems *you* have doesn't mean it doesn't solve problems that other people (including the gnome 3 developers and myself) have.

The first time I tried out Gnome 3.0,0, it was a little frustrating simply because it was different than I was used to. After (literally) minutes of using it, that frustration was rapidly replaced with something more akin to "holy ****, this is awesome! It's like they wrote this stuff just for *me*" I proceeded to upgrade every system I used, and never looked back.

Anyway.

Software development in the F/OSS world is participatorily meritocratic; those who participate (which usually equates to writing code) determine what direction it takes.

Anyone who expects the Gnome3 developers to work on something other what they (1) want, and (2) builds towards/upon their goals/vision, is pretty deluded. It's Free Software; if you don't like where it's going, fork it and build towards your vision instead. Talk is talk, but code walks.

That developer/user empowerment is how we have an actively-maintained fork of the Gnome2 environment. But expecting the Gnome3 folks to expend extra effort to make that easier... well, see my previous paragraph. Why create more work for themselves that will only delay their goals?

Haters gonna hate, for sure

Posted Nov 12, 2012 5:43 UTC (Mon) by bojan (subscriber, #14302) [Link]

> Ultimately, isn't my saying "I like gnome3 better" the whole point here, just as (please correct me if I'm wrong) you're saying "I like gnome2 better"?

Sorry to disagree again, but no. I am not basing my argument on any particular "like".

As I mentioned, activities overview is more or less an implementation of RFC 1925 (6a). I will quote the whole (6) here, just so that you you know what I'm taking about. This is a somewhat humorous RFC called "The Twelve Networking Truths" (you can find it here: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1925). So, the (6) is:

> (6) It is easier to move a problem around (for example, by moving the problem to a different part of the overall network architecture) than it is to solve it.

> (6a) (corollary). It is always possible to add another level of indirection.

Now think about activities overview. Which elements does it contain?

1. The dash (which is really like a dock).
2. Expose.
3. Applications menu (when selected).
4. Search.
5. Workspace switcher.
6. Other stuff I may be forgetting.

It's a desktop in itself. Ergo, the desktop layer has been moved one level deeper. That would be the meaning of RFC 1925 (6a), in a nutshell.

None of the activities overview elements are new or innovative in themselves and all exist in previous DEs. And can be accessed directly there.

As an aside, the use of dash as a task switcher is entirely hypocritical. If taskbar is not good for task switching, why is dock in activities overview OK for this purpose? But I digress...

Moving this functionality one level deeper introduced new problems. For example:

- repainting of the entire screen on entry/exist (terrible for VNC work)
- no visibility of the desktop (workspace switcher gone)
- unnecessary animations (performance problems when no 3D hardware)
- more GUI actions required to do things (more cumbersome to use)
- nowhere to minimise windows (broken GUI metaphor)

And so on and so forth. These are not "likes". These are facts that you can verify for yourself.

The Gnome Shell design document I pointed to talks about solving problems through the introduction of overview, such as:

- effective focus switching
- less distraction
- better use of screen space (in another document)

None of these are factually true. Focus switching was already solved through the existence of workspaces. Within workspaces, it was also done using either taskbar or expose directly. Distraction reduction (if there is such a thing, given that Gnome 3 panel still has buttons which distract) is better achieved through autohide of panels. A single panel holding everything is possible and sufficient in Gnome 2 (or Gnome 3 fallback).

So, on facts, activities overview just pretends to solve something, but really just moves everything one level away from where one can use all those directly.

As an aside here, it is the activities overview that actually made Gnome 3 have fallback mode. Were it not for it, there would be no need for two modes (or at least they'd look indistinguishable enough from each other). But, I digress again...

If Gnome developers want to just tell all of us to bugger off (means: go away), that's fine. However, pretending that design documentation holds some deeper truths is not on. As a long term user, I think I'm entitled to point that out.

> It's Free Software; if you don't like where it's going, fork it and build towards your vision instead. Talk is talk, but code walks.

Yes, absolutely agree with you here. In fact, in one of my somewhat sarcastic and cynical posts on gnome-shell list I said as much. Short of me building a non-overview shell, it won't happen (well, it did happen - it's called Cinnamon). Shit has well and truly hit the fan with the fallback removal in 3.8, so who knows - maybe I'll even have a crack (don't hold your breath).

However, ignoring long term users that are trying to point out genuine usability problems does not look good for the Gnome project, IMNSHO.

Haters gonna hate, for sure

Posted Nov 12, 2012 20:24 UTC (Mon) by MisterIO (guest, #36192) [Link]

Very interesting post. It's made clearer to me why I've never been able to like Gnome Shell!

Haters gonna hate, for sure

Posted Nov 12, 2012 14:32 UTC (Mon) by Rehdon (guest, #45440) [Link]

"Ultimately, isn't my saying "I like gnome3 better" the whole point here, just as (please correct me if I'm wrong) you're saying "I like gnome2 better"?"

While the field of HCI studies is not exactly comparable to exact sciences, a UI regression is something that can be measured by somewhat precise metrics (a feature was there and has been automagically removed because incompatible with the GNOME "brand", an action that required n mouse clicks now requires 2x n, an action that was perfectly visibile to the user is now hidden behind a modal screen, and so on).

So no, it's not that you can say "but I like it" and wave all problems away: your opinion is your opinion and can be shared or not, an UI regression is a UI regression and it's there to stay if nobody does something.

Hope this helps.

Rehdon


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